Vignesh Prasad

Top 5 Best Things About The Tilt-ernship

Over the past summer, I interned as a front end, web engineer at Tilt and it’s safe to say the three months I spent in San Francisco were the best three months of my life and three months I learned the most from. This list is an effort to do justice to an absolutely awesome internship while hopefully throwing light on what to look for in your summer internships.

1. Team Culture

As an outsider it’s very easy to get an appreciation for the culture at a company. What members of the team take for granted, as an intern you can really notice and point out. I always imagined culture as just random buzzwords that you have to make things sound awesome but at Tilt I realized how impactful building a culture can be.

While all of the below tie in to the culture at Tilt I specifically want to highlight something that struck me.

At Tilt, everyone wanted to help each other.

We were encouraged to ask questions and for every question I asked I was explained the concepts of how things worked and why we do things the way we did. Pretty soon I found myself helping people too. Not sure how or when it happened but helping people seemed to be the natural thing to do when someone had some difficulty.

2. Being a Leader

As an intern, I never expected to really have much of a say in what I worked on. But right throughout I had the freedom to take up and work on things I wanted.

Everyone is encouraged to be a leader at Tilt

Every Friday, each member of our team would spend a couple of hours working on something that they wanted to. I fixed quite a few small things that had bothered me as a user.

It wasn’t just on the small things that I had freedom with. When I complained to my mentor that we had accumulated a lot of tech debt by using an old version of React, I was given the liberty to go ahead and upgrade it, something I spent the next few weeks working on. When I brought up the idea, that we should look into React Native, I had the opportunity to pair with one of the other engineers who had a similar thought to try and port over one of our screens to React Native.

3. Transparency

There was not a single moment that we felt we didn’t belong at the company as interns. I was surprised that, as interns, we were invited to the company meetings where finances, investor slide decks and board meetings were discussed.

I even had the chance to have conversations with James and Khaled every few weeks when they would host office hours.

4. Tech Talks

Throughout the summer we had various Tech Talks from the engineers based on topics we were interested in.

Learning was always given importance at Tilt

Hearing about what happens at a major outage, what happens when you drop the production db and what checks you can have in place to prevent this was extremely insightful. The company also hosted Alexis Ohanian (co-founder of Reddit) and Jeff Stump (recruiter at a16z) to give talks to the whole company. It’s no surprise then that I learned more this summer than any other three months in my life.

To top all of this, we also had the chance to go to GitHub and Airbnb for meetups.

5. Freedom

For someone who’s interested in a lot of different stuff other than coding, Tilt provided me the ideal environment to explore other aspects of the company. Since college students are the primary consumers of Tilt, we interns worked closely with the product team giving them feedback and suggestions on what we can do to improve. We even worked on the Tilter Happiness talking to consumers of the code we were writing.

6. Working on REAL stuff

I know I said five but I just had to mention this. I think one of the most gratifying stuff about my summer was that I worked on the actual product that users were seeing everyday. It’s an exhilarating feeling getting a user at the bugs email when something you deployed doesn’t work. It’s remarkable the amount of trust Tilt placed on us interns and it’s extremely satisfying to go back home and show your friends and family something you worked on.

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